Westchester County Legal Separation Attorney

A legal separation is not the equivalent of a divorce, but for many couples, it’s an acceptable alternative. In a legal separation, the spouses are still married and the marriage license is not revoked. Couples who may not wish to divorce right away but still wish to live apart can learn more about legal separation in New York by speaking with an experienced divorce attorney in Westchester County at Kimberly Pelesz New York Law, LLC. Legal separations allow the spouses to live separately, to establish a custody and support agreement, and to divide earnings and assets while still remaining legally married if they wish.


Before you file a separation agreement, it is imperative to speak with an experienced Westchester County legal separation attorney about your family and your goals. There are two ways to be legally separated in New York. Separation “judgments” are granted for adultery, imprisonment, inhumane treatment, or non-support. These are court rulings that are often the prelude to a divorce. Separation “agreements” are a mutual expression by both spouses that disunion is best. An experienced Peekskill divorce attorney at Kimberly Pelesz New York Law, LLC can help you decide if a legal disunion is the right option for you, and if so, can help you determine the best way to obtain it.


New York laws allow you and your spouse to live apart for a certain period of time before you file for divorce. At the end of the separation agreement, which will last for a minimum period of one year, you can go ahead and file for divorce if you wish. The separation is marked by a separation agreement, which is a contract that you and your spouse will sign to make it official. You will mutually agree to a number of terms as part of this agreement. A separation agreement will include a number of details including the following:

  • It will include details about the living arrangements for both you and your spouse during the disunion.
  • You will define which spouse is responsible for paying household bills in the marital home during the disunion.
  • You will define with whom the children will live during the separation, and how they will split their time if you want a joint custody arrangement.
  • If one of the spouses is expected to pay child support to the other, and this will be defined in the separation agreement as well.
  • If one spouse is eligible to have visitation with children, this visitation schedule must be set down in the disunion agreement and agreed upon by both parties.
  • The agreement will define the constitution of marital property.
  • It may also include any other terms that you want to include in the agreement specific to your marriage

It is best to seek the help of a Westchester County legal separation lawyer for help drafting a separation agreement. Remember, the final terms of the divorce agreement could look very similar to the terms that you have already agreed to in the separation agreement.

Both you and your spouse must agree to the disunion, and must jointly sign the agreement in the presence of a notary public. The disunion agreement is a legal document, and is legally binding on both of you. After you have signed the agreement, you can file for divorce. Talk to a Westchester County legal separation lawyer for help drafting a separation agreement.


Sometimes married people will decide to separate – unofficially, more or less – without going to court or filing for legal separation or divorce. It may seem expedient; after all, court is a big, costly hassle. The problem with an unofficial disunion is that years later, if one partner seeks a divorce, it’s going to be needlessly complicated, and it’s likely that one spouse may not get the justice that he or she deserves. If you and your spouse are “unofficially” separated or if you are considering separation or divorce in New York, speak at once with an experienced Westchester County legal disunion attorney.

Unofficial separations do not end the legal, financial obligations between spouses. That means all the money earned – or debts incurred – by either spouse may be considered part of the shared marital estate at the time of a divorce. If one spouse helps the other financially during an unofficial disunion, in a divorce proceeding that spouse may not get credit for previously-paid support. If you are sending money to your spouse during an unofficial separation because you moved out and feel guilty, stop the payments right now and consult with an experienced family law attorney. Don’t let anyone – even the person you may still love – set you up to be exploited in a divorce.

If you are ready to separate – officially or unofficially – make sure that you protect yourself. If you are sending money to your spouse during an unofficial separation, have a family law attorney draft an agreement that considers the needs of both parties and protects you in the event of a divorce. In fact, before you move out, separate officially or unofficially, or file for divorce, discuss your circumstances with an experienced Westchester County legal separation attorney. Make certain that you are treated fairly, and do not wait to make the call.


If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about the prospect of legal disunion, we understand that reaching the best possible resolution is a priority. Nothing is more important than your future. If you are considering legal separation or divorce in New York, contact Kimberly Pelesz New York Law, LLC as quickly as possible for a free initial consultation. With offices in Peekskill and Poughkeepsie, we serve clients in Beacon, Fishkill, Wappingers Falls, Newburgh, Tarrytown, Greenburgh, Westchester County, Dutchess County, Putnam County, Orange County, and Rockland County. To learn more about how an experienced Westchester County legal separation attorney can help you with the legal separation process, email us or call us promptly at (914) 402-4541.

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